Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:49

Milton Citizens Push Back On Massive Project

The proposed Mill Town Centre project. Image provided. The proposed Mill Town Centre project. Image provided.

BALLSTON SPA — The Milton Community Center was packed last Wednesday with citizens concerned about what’s been called “the biggest project in Milton ever.” A town hall-style event hosted by Milton Citizens for Responsible Development allowed locals to ask questions and express concerns over the Mill Town Centre project, which could bring 507 residential units, more than 1,200 parking spaces, and multiple new businesses to the area.

Dan Galvin, a member of Milton Citizens for Responsible Development, began the question and answer portion of the event by saying he “could care less about government. My opinion is the less government, the better. I want to be left alone to go to my job to provide for my family and come home and live my life in peace. That’s where I stand. But when I started to see the development that is happening in our area, it started to scare me.”

Peter Nelson, a Milton resident for 33 years and another member of Milton Citizens for Responsible Development, said one of the top concerns with the mixed-use project was increased traffic. In a Powerpoint presentation, Nelson displayed a photo of a traffic jam near Northline Road. “I’m no scientist but I’m pretty sure if there’s another thousand cars or so from Mill Town Centre, it’s not going to help,” Nelson said. 

A long-time Milton resident named Mary said she “would have been here a lot earlier, but it took me ten minutes to back out of my driveway. With all the new traffic that this project will bring forth, I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like.” Another local said that traffic in Milton “has been a nightmare in the last ten years.”

To help manage the additional vehicles that the project would bring into Milton, infrastructure upgrades such as traffic circles are being planned. The project developer is supposed to pay for the upgrades, although some citizens were concerned that their taxes would be increased in order to fund these upgrades in the future.

A traffic assessment prepared in August of last year by Creighton Manning Engineering stated that the project “is expected to generate 365 new vehicle trips during the AM peak hour, 281 new vehicle trips during the PM peak hour, and 340 new vehicle trips during the Saturday peak hour.” The report recommended that a traffic signal be installed at the intersection of Rowland Street and Grand Avenue, that Rowland Street be widened to create a left-turn lane, and that multiple stop signs be installed.

Attendees also expressed concerns over the potential impact of bringing more students into already short-staffed school districts. However, data cited by Ballston Spa Central School District Clerk of the Board and Records Access Officer Brian Sirianni at a recent Board of Education meeting indicated that renters of one and two bedroom apartments typically don’t have kids. Sirianni also said that commercial properties, like the ones planned for Mill Town Centre, usually benefit school districts financially. “Burnt Hills, south of us, really doesn’t have a lot of commercial property so they suffer and they have a much higher tax rate because it falls on the residents,” Sirianni said. 

John Bartow, Chairman of the Milton Planning Board, said that the Mill Town Centre site is currently divided between the Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs school districts. He said that it would be up to the districts and the developer to decide where Mill Town Centre kids would attend school.

Other concerns raised during public comments included the potential impact on water supply and the lack of affordable housing units. 

Bartow, who answered a number of questions from attendees, provided an update on the project’s status. He said the application was recently deemed complete, and there are now two stages left to the process: a rezoning request that’s before the town board, and a site plan review that will be conducted by the planning board. Bartow said this whole process would take a minimum of four to six months.

In addition to Bartow, other local officials in attendance included State Senate candidate Minita Sanghvi and Ballston Spa Mayor Frank Rossi. Mill Town Centre developer Malta Development Co. was invited to attend but did not send a representative. Wayne Samascott, vice president of Malta Development Co., previously told Saratoga TODAY that he hoped to begin construction this year.

The Milton Citizens for Responsible Development will meet again on February 21 to “decide what our next steps are.” The meeting will be held at the Kaydeross Rod and Gun Club at 706 Geyser Road from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Detailed documents regarding the Mill Town Centre project can be found in the Planning Board section of the Document Center at Milton Citizens for Responsible Development maintains a Facebook page that has nearly 200 members.

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